How is it mid-March and we’re supposed to be getting 1-3 inches of snow today? This is annoying. Good thing we didn’t decide to have our wedding in March like we initially almost did. I also find it really interesting how people choose wedding dates. Some choose it for special meaning and then others (like us) just choose it cause it’s whatever was open at our wedding venue. But then that random date becomes a forever meaning to you. Kind of cool at how it was “meant to be.”
Anyway, on to the eggplant parmesan! This has been one of my favorite dishes to create from scratch. It’s really filling, super flavorful, hearty, and healthy. It’s got the best of every world! I had two large eggplant slices and my tummy was happily full :) one of the keys to this eggplant parmesan is to salt the eggplant slices and then give it time to let the salt draw out the eggplants’ liquid. It makes a huge difference when it comes to pan-frying the breadcrumb coated slices as they don’t end up soggy! And again, I will 100% endorse the use of whole milk mozzarella. I mean, c’mon, doesn’t that last picture just make your mouth water?!
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into ½" thick slices
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
- 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 2 cups whole milk mozzarella, shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt, as you don't want it to be too salty!
- In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil for every 2 eggplant slices.
- In a large casserole dish, add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices (I was only able to fit about 3 a layer) then using a ¼ cup, dollop marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn't to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplants slices. Top the casserole with more cheese before you place in the oven :)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I used the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown - you don't have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!
- Serve hot and top with chopped basil, if using.